tv U.S. Senate CSPAN February 9, 2015 2:00pm-3:01pm EST
i rode with my friends one of the first, the first published case was on sex discrimination and law. but we came to see -- all by the way i should say a brilliant lawyer who worked for he didn't work for pay but he was one of the general counsel, he spotted what he said is going to be the turning point gender discrimination case. the year 1970 and the supreme court has never seen a gender classification that it thought was unconstitutional.
this case was decided by the supreme court of idaho. it was about a woman named sally lee who was divorced when her son was what the law called of tender years so sally got custody. when the boy got to be a teenager, and the father said now he needs to be prepared for a man's world so i want him to live with me. sally thought that was a bad idea. part of the story short but the boy when when they took at one of his fathers many rifles and killed himself. so sally wanted to be appointed administrator of his estate, not because there was any monetary gain but for similar reasons he had a guitar some clothes, a record collection, a small bank
account, that was it. her former husband applied to be administrator a couple weeks later. sally thought she would get to the appointment because she applied for. but the probate court said the law leaves me no choice but it reads equally entitled to administer the estate. just that simple. let me compare 1971 when the case was decided by a unanimous court headed by chief justice burger, with a case in 1961 when earl warren who was known as
quote a liberal justice hadn't had quindlen's case. gwendolyn hoyt was what we would today call a battered woman. she was abused by her philandering husband and one day he humiliated her to the breaking point. she was beside herself. it was kind of like billy the story of billy, he is unable to speak so he strikes. gwendolyn saw her son's baseball bat in the corner of the room. she took it with all her might and hit him over the head. he fell to the ground. it was the end of his life, the beginning of the prosecution. gwendolyn hoyt's id was it's important for me to have women
on the jury because women would understand the rage i felt. hillsborough county floor in those days did not put women on the jury bolster that was supposed to be a favorite to women. the supreme court said in gwendolyn hoyt's case -- we went on the center of home and family life. therefore, they don't need to be on jury. gwendolyn hoyt floor to get the court to understand that citizens have obligations as well as rights, and one obligation is to participate in the administration of justice by serving on juries. the law said women are expendable. we don't need them to serve on
juries. well the supreme court rejected gwendolyn hoyt's plea in 1961. and what happened in those 10 years in between? there was an enormous change in society. women were entering the workforce in increasing numbers. women were living many years longer than a day that the youngest child left the nest. birth control was more freely available. all of those changes in society led the law to catch up and that's what was happening in the 1970s. so i was fantastically lucky to be born when i was and to have
the skill of a lawyer. in the rate to be brief there were the names of two women on the cover paula murray and dorothy kenyon. these were women who were saying the same things that we were saying. dorothy mission was to put women on juries in every state in the country. and polly murray was an african-american woman who had herself, she wrote, she wrote an article called jane crow and the law in which she compared the disadvantages that african-americans faced with the disadvantages that women faced, that for women as well as members of minority groups they were closed doors, door she couldn't enter. for reasons that had nothing to
do with the ability, just because of their skin color your gender. we put their names on sally reed's brief as if to say they are too old now to be working with us but we are standing on their shoulders. we are saying the same things that they said, but now at last society is ready to listen. >> there are six cases that you argued before the court. did you have an overall strategy about what you're trying to do? >> none of the cases that the aclu women's rights project handled or test cases in the sense that they went out and tried to manufacture a case or find plaintiffs. these were people everyday people like sally reed.
what we wanted, we wanted to have cases with people everyday people so the court could see the arbitrariness of the gender lines in the law. one of those important pieces -- cases was stephen weiss and felt case. some people criticize me for bringing men's rights cases. well, let me describe stevens casey and let you decide whether it's a women sex case or men's rights case for people's rights case. stephen was married to a high school math teacher. she had a healthy pregnancy. she talked into her ninth month. she went to the hospital to give birth and the doctor came out and told steven, you have a healthy baby boy but your wife died of an embolism.
so steven vowed that he would not work full-time until the child was in school full-time. and he figured he could make it between social security benefits and what he is allowed to earn on top of those benefits. he went to the local social security office to apply for what he thought were benefits for a sole surviving parent with a child under 12 in his care. and he was told we are very sorry these are mothers benefits. they are not available for fathers. so in this case we argued, first it was discrimination against women because women were required to pay the same so security taxes that men paid but their families did not get the protection that male workers
families got. and then it was discrimination against the male as parent because men would not have the opportunity to care personally for their children. and then, well, let me say the unanimous judgment, the majority thought it was discrimination. the discrimination start with the wage journey. a couple of them thought it was discrimination against the male as parent. and one who was then the justice, later became my first, and then justice rehnquist said this is totally arbitrary from the point of view of the baby. by doesn't the baby have a chance to be taken care of by a parent, a sole surviving parent, only a female and male? so that was our illustration to the court. gender discrimination is bad for
everyone, bad for women, bad for children, and for men. the idea was to break down this stereo type division of the world into home and childcare in mothers and work outside the home fathers, that pattern. and so with great rapidity, states congress changed the laws that had once been based on this model of home care in mother, working father, and took away those gender labels and made it a worker, a taxpayer parent.
>> was the court receptive to your argument? and specifically, i'm thinking mostly all right now, in terms of the oral argument. >> they didn't ask as many questions as the court on which i sit. [laughter] you could get a whole paragraph, and even it there was one case, it was the one that i lost. we won't go into the details of that but -- [laughter] my precious half-hour was out and maybe there was have a minute left and justice blackmun asked the question, and i answered it come and chief justice burger let me go on for five minutes beyond the half-hour. that wouldn't happen today.
[laughter] >> and -- >> you said where the receptive. yes, to a point, but the very last case i argued was in 1978 and it was another one of the women on juries cases. this was from missouri. i just finished the argument about to sit down intent i've made all the essential points when then justice rehnquist is but rehnquist said and so ms. ginsburg, you will be satisfied with susan b. anthony's face on the new dollar. so it was still that we could make jokes about treating women as less than full citizens.
>> and to the presence of women on the court have a profound influence in terms of changing that? >> i think now that we are one-third of the court well, justice o'connor was the lone woman on the court for 12 years and when i was appointed there was a renovation. up until then there had been a bathroom that said men. they rushed through this renovation and created a women's bathroom equal in size to the men's, and that was the way for the court to say now we know that women will be part of this institution. during the years that we served
together, invariably in one way or another, would respond to my question. justice o'connor and occasionally they would say i'm justice o'connor. she is justice ginsburg. it doesn't happen now with the three of us left like i'm 1000. [laughter] i think the worst time was when i was all a long after centerleft. the public reception sought eight men and then there was this little woman, hardly to be seen. but now because i am so senior, i sit toward the middle. i have justice kagan on the left, justice sotomayor on my right. and if you can't come if you watched proceedings, it's really quite a show.
[laughter] my newest colleagues are not shrinking violets. so the public will see that women are all over the bench. they very much a part of the colloquy. yes, people ask me sometimes when do you think it will be enough? when will there be enough women on the court? and my answer is when there are nine. [applause] [laughter] some people are taken aback. but remember for most of our countries history, there were only men on the high court
bench. >> now, i want to open the floor for questions, but just one last question. as you are about to all of our since you are about to start their legal career and you betcha such an extraordinary career, is there one or two pieces of advice villages like to give them as they are about to begin? >> i have loved everything that i've done in the law. it's a great profession but i will say that -- [inaudible] i don't think i would have had nearly the satisfaction that i have. yes, you need a job, but if you don't do something outside yourself something that will
repair the tears in your communities that will make life a little better for other people, you are not really a true professional. then you are like a plumber who has a great skill, but that's all you are. if you think of yourself as a true professional, you will take talent, education that you have and use it to make things better for other people in your local community, your state, your country your world. >> i think that's a powerful and inspiring. your career has been so inspiring for each of us. what you have done has been transformative. so we would like to take an opportunity to give you the chance to ask the justice
questions. okay, while we are waiting to -- [laughter] how does it feel to be an icon? [laughter] >> well, when all this started i had to ask my law clerks, what is this notorious rvg? -- rbg? [laughter] is notorious because it's no longer part of this world. [laughter] >> i think we have a question now. [laughter] please say your name. >> justice ginsburg, thank you for coming. my name is chloe what. on the copresident of the rights group here on campus so my question kind of tends towards
that. with a hobby lobby rolling, with some of the release coming out of texas, how do you feel about are you pessimistic about the direction of reproductive rights in this country? that includes abortion contraception, parenting and so on. >> you asked and i pessimistic? i think would depend upon women of your age if you care about this. there will never be a time when women of means will by choice -- lack choice. take the worst case in our era world the way was overruled by the supreme court. there will be states, a sizable number that will not go back to the way it was. i mean at the time of roe v. wade there were four states that give women access to abortion.
without any questions asked in the first trimester. so those states are not going to change. what it means is a woman who can afford a plane ticket, a bus ticket will be able to decide for herself whether to have an abortion. but the women who won't have that choice our poor women and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense i think. so if the women of your generation care about this issue, they will that's the message i don't see talked about a lot is who will bear the brunt i suppose roe v. wade will overrule, who will bear the
brunt? so if we care about our sisters who are less fortunate than we are we will do what we can to see that they have roughly the same choices in life. >> in the back. >> please state your name. >> my name is madeline and i'm in afghan kandak and. for those of us as women have been inspired by you, justice ginsburg for opening the doors for women over the course of the last two decades there's another group of us who are inspired to do work for women overseas, whether it's in afghanistan, throughout the middle east. and i would like to hear from
you what advice you might have for those of us who wish to see the role of women growing and to replace with a good look at their sisters in the united states or in the western countries and say, we are getting there. what advice would you give for lawyers who would like to dedicate their lives to women's economic empowerment and social empowerment in developing countries? >> i would say first don't go there to preach to people about how they should do things. we should try to get to know the local community to understand what their priorities are and to help them, but they to help them accomplish an agenda that they sent. there have been some great strides made and the name of the man who was setting up
funding women who were starting small businesses? and he was amazingly successful. the women paid back, when they got their resources, they worked very hard, and i would say that's the main thing. i worry about some people who go off to various places and wrote constitutions that had no correspondence to that society. i think if you are working abroad you try to work with the women in that culture to accomplish what they see as most helpful to them. >> another question.
>> i'm tyler clements. it's an honor. my question is, you kind of become known as the voice of the powerful dissent over the past few years, perhaps unfortunately. but if you could pick one decision over the past 10 years at you could wave a magic wand and overturned, what would it be and why? >> i would have to say citizens united because i think the system is being polluted by money. it gets pretty bad when it affects the judiciary, too, in some 39 states, judges are elected at some level and it costs millions of dollars to fund a campaign for a state supreme court. something is terribly wrong. i think we are reaching the saturation point.
a great man that i love dearly marty, often said that the true some of the united states is not the bald eagle. it is the pendulum. when it swings too far one way it's going to go back in the other direction. >> so you think that it will swing back? >> do i think -- i can't say when but that one day sensible restrictions on campaign financing will be the law of this land. yes, it will happen. it's one of the hard things to explain when i go to florida, and i'm very proud of being a citizen of the u.s.a., but then they ask questions like, how do you allow people with money to
have access to lawmakers, to the decision-makers and ordinary people don't have? how do you have a system where legislative districts in the house are so gerrymandered that people don't vote? one of the shameful things is the low rate of voting in the united states many democracies, the turnout is much higher. people have a sense, why bother? it's a foregone conclusion who is going to win. so i think we need, we need to get our democracy where it is a democracy for all of the people. there is important work to be done.
>> i think we have time for one last question. on the far side. while we are waiting do you have any recommendations, what can lawyers do for fun? [laughter] >> well, whatever it is your passion. i told you i'm a monotone by skill. i do love opera, so i've been a super a now three times the washington opera. i'm also well every year i participate in a shakespeare theater moot court, and i've been, i guess my best part at the shakespeare theatre was in henry the fourth.
nigel the director asked me if i could have a cameo express one night on one condition. i know just the part i want to i want to say that famous line first thing we do let's kill all the lawyers. [laughter] [applause] >> now our last question. >> see if i can follow that, but thank you, justice ginsburg. the question i want to ask is if you were, back in your role as a civil rights activist what kind of case which be looking to bring today? what sort of story would you be looking to bring to the floor to talk to the court? what causes would you want to advocate for? >> i'm glad you asked that question because i wanted to everybody here that you don't start with the courts.
on the whole, the judiciary is a reactive institution, doesn't set its own agenda. our first effort in the aclu will women's rights project, was public opinion to try to influence public opinion your that people have to want to change it for it's going to be reflected in legislation or in judicial decisions. then you try to get the legislature to write laws that are family-friendly. and the court is really the third audience. in the '70s and it was kind of a dialogue going back and forth between, the court would say decides how the reed case and then it would be some changes in the law enemy would be stephen's case and then more changes in the law.
the court and the legislature were working kind of in tandem at that time. so but i would express that first you need popular support. that's what existed in the '70s, and it didn't exist before that. and then while all this was going on and these cases were being rocked to court that states were reviewing their law books to eliminate arbitrary gender classification. congress did the same. so don't think about the court as your first audience. people have to want to have to change before it will happen.
>> i have to say this has really been extraordinary. we have a small token of our appreciation. we have a plaque, second annual dean's lecture graduating class, justice ruth bader ginsburg. and have to say, the privilege of listening to you and the wisdom that we are all benefiting from, i'm so grateful. i know we are also grateful so i would like to leave us all in a round of applause for thanks to justice ginsburg. >> that's lovely, thank you. [applause] thank you. this is perfect.
>> congress has a full agenda this week ahead of the upcoming presidents' day break. the house returns tomorrow at noon. later this week they will be working on the senate passed measure approving the keys to ask oil pipe line. the senate gavels in in about 25 minutes from now. at 5 p.m. they will begin debate on the nomination of michael botticelli to be the drug of national drug control policy, a vote follows at 5:30 p.m. it's likely the senate again will try to move forward on the department of homeland security spending. three times last week democrats locked debate because of language that overturns the president obama's executive actions on immigration. live coverage of the house on c-span and the senate here on c-span2. >> keep track of the republican-led congress and follow its members through its first session. new congress best access on c-span, c-span2, c-span radio
and c-span.org. >> next and wisconsin governor scott walker gives his fifth state of the state address speaking before the lawmakers at the state capitol in madison he discussed the economic progress being made which he referred to as the wisconsin come back. he also talked about the need for smaller government and reducing federal regulations imposed on state business. governor walker was reelected to a second term in november of last year when you recall initiative in 2012 of the issue of collective bargaining rights. speaker vos, speaker pro tem august, president lazich, majority leader fitzgerald, minority leader shilling, minority leader barca, members of the wisconsin supreme court, constitutional officers, tribal leaders members of the cabinet distinguished guests members of the legislature, and most importantly fellow citizens of the great state of wisconsin, it is an honor to appear before you
again tonight. [applause] before we get started i would like to introduce the first lady of wisconsin, my wife, tonette. [applause] also in the gallery are our sons, matt and alex, and my parents, llew and pat walker as well. [applause] sitting next to my wife is the adjutant general of the wisconsin national guard, major general donald dunbar.
[applause] last friday general dunbar and i saw off 522 members of the 115th fighter wing here in madison. they answered the call of our nation's commander-in-chief, while still being fully prepared to respond to needs right here in wisconsin. this is the strength of the national guard. [applause] when you go to bed tonight, i ask that you keep these men and women, as well as each of the other units deployed from wisconsin and their families, in your prayers until their safe return.
[applause] and how about those packers? [cheers and applause] that's even better than last year's wall in initiative. that's pretty good. [laughter] if there is one thing that can bring together democrats and republicans here in wisconsin it's the green bay packers. [applause] forgive me tonight if i'm a bit hoarse, but like most of the state we spent a fair amount of time cheering on sunday. i had plenty of fun hugging owners in the stands at
lambeau field. best of luck to the man who should be the league mvp, aaron rodgers, and to the rest of the team. [applause] much like our military and the packers, tonight, i am proud to report the state of our state is strong. the source of our strength is our people. i see it when i tour factories and farms and small businesses. i see it when i visit schools and hospitals and places of worship all across this great state. the citizens of wisconsin are decent and smart and hard-working, and they are strong. over the past four years, we put the power back into their hands. in turn wisconsin is more free and prosperous. [applause]
if you remember nothing else, remember this. more people are working, while fewer are unemployed. state government is more effective, more efficient, and more accountable, and the state's financial condition has improved. budgets are set based on the public's ability to pay, instead of the government's hunger to spend. school scores are up and more students are graduating, and we are helping more of our fellow citizens to transition from government dependence to work. the wisconsin comeback is working. [applause] according to preliminary numbers from the department of workforce development, there are now 7,600 more private sector jobs in wisconsin than there were before the recession. the unemployment rate that peaked at 9.2% in january of
2010 is now down to 5.2%. trends show it will continue to drop this year. while december job numbers for the states come out next week, the preliminary november data for wisconsin shows we had the best monthly private sector job growth in more than two decades. [applause] specifically the year-over-year numbers show the creation of 51,000 private sector jobs, which is the best since the end of the 1990s. [applause] budget reforms over the past four years reduced the burden on
the hard-working taxpayers of this state by $2 billion, and we will continue to reduce that burden every year that i am in office. [applause] in particular, i am proud to say property taxes on a typical home were $141 lower in december of 2014 than they were four years ago. that's right; property taxes are literally lower than they were in 2010. how many governors can say that? [applause]
if property taxes had grown over the past four years at the rate they did between 2006 and 2010, a typical homeowner would have paid $385 more in property taxes this past december. over the last four years combined the cumulative difference is more than $800. that's real money. [applause] we heard you loud and clear. thanks for all of the nice notes and emails and calls to tell us how your property taxes went down. we heard from mike and sherry from sheboygan clint from markesan, and tammy from viroqua. there was jon and christine from milwaukee, karen from portage and dale from jefferson, karen from oregon diana from elkhorn, and louis from marshfield.
we heard from people from all across the state. my pledge to you is that property taxes four years from now will be lower than they were in 2014. [applause] we reduced income and employer taxes too. and we started taking less out of paychecks for withholding last april, so you could keep more of your hard-earned money. on top of our economic success we empowered local school boards to hire and fire based on merit and pay based on performance, so they can keep the best and the brightest in the classroom. and it's working. [applause] over the past four years
graduation rates are up. third grade reading scores are up. act scores are up, and wisconsin now ranks 2nd in the country. [applause] our fiscal outlook is strong, too. we finished each year with a surplus, and we will again this year. [applause] wisconsin's pension system is the only one fully funded in the country. the state's pension and debt ratio is one of the best. our bond rating is positive. and the rainy day fund is the largest in state history, 165 times bigger than when we first took office. [applause]
while the state of state is strong we want it to be even stronger in the future. tonight i will layout parts of our legislative agenda for the future of this great state our plan will help people get the education and skills they need to succeed. we want the opportunity to be as equal as possible with the outcome left up to each and every one of us. in other words our plan is to help more people live their piece of the american dream right here in wisconsin. [applause] we will build off of our successes in worker training through the blueprint for prosperity we announced last year. so far, we helped out nearly 5,000 more students into classes at our 16 technical colleges throughout the state. some of them are with us here tonight.
one of those is amber meads at waukesha county technical college. amber is 24 and was on a waiting list to get into the welding program. our wisconsin fast forward grant opened up a spot for her to start in the fall semester. amber now knows she is getting the training she needs for a high-paying career that will support her and her 5-year-old daughter, cheyenne, both of them are here tonight. [applause] last year we announced a new program called a better bottom line that was patterned after an idea from my friend, delaware governor jack markell, when he
was the chair of the national governors association. it is about helping employers identify the unique abilities of people who are defined, by some as having a disability. tonight i want to recognize some of the people who i met this year through a better bottom line. here with me tonight are people like spencer kletzien of dickmann manufacturing in grafton, mary lapointe, who uses her computer skills at her job with beyond vision in milwaukee, peter wenzel, who works at mosinee cold storage and dan blomgren, who i met at mcglynn pharmacy in stoughton. let's give them each a round of applause. [applause] as part of a better bottom line
we expanded programs helping transition people with disabilities into the workforce in a way that matched their skills with the needs of prospective employers. for the first time in more than a decade, the division of vocational rehabilitation eliminated a waiting list for employment services for people with significant disabilities. we will continue to expand these programs in the coming year. [applause] in addition to worker training, we will ensure every child, regardless of background or birthright, has access to a quality education. we will continue to empower
families to make the choice that is right for their sons and daughters. tonight i call on the members of the state legislature to pass legislation ensuring objective information is available for each and every school receiving public funds in this state. provide the information and allow parents to make the choice. no need for bureaucrats or politicians to make that choice, i trust parents. [applause] give them access to objective information and they will make the choice that is best for their children. and speaking of what is best for
our students, i also call on the members of the state legislature to pass legislation making it crystal clear that no school district in the state is required to use common core standards. [applause] going forward i want to eliminate any requirement to use common core. let me be clear. my sons graduated from outstanding public schools in wauwatosa and my nieces are in public schools as well so i have a vested interest, like parents all across the state, in high standards. but these standards should be set by people from within wisconsin, and preferably at the local level. [applause] looking ahead we are proposing bold reforms to make state
government more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the public. we will consolidate several of our state agencies. while the mergers will provide savings in the next state budget, the real objective is to improve services, while being better stewards of the taxpayers' money. currently, the state has two different entities directly involved with economic development. one, the wisconsin economic development corporation, was created four years ago to replace the old department of commerce. the other, the wisconsin housing and economic development authority was created more than four decades ago. tonight, i ask the members of this legislature to pass legislation combining these two into one so resources can be shifted from overhead into economic development. [applause] our plan will put an even greater emphasis on working at
the grassroots level with local regional, and private sector partners on economic development. there are also several agencies, which oversee financial institutions and professional services. tonight, i call on the members of the state legislature to approve legislation combining these agencies into a one-stop shop for professional and financial services. [applause] in addition, our legislative package will include several other consolidations within existing agencies, as well as further regulatory reforms. we want common sense solutions, not bureaucratic red tape. there are some in washington who believe government should play a growing role in our lives and rarely questioned its expanse. others have such disdain for government that they attempt to keep it from working at all. instead, we have a chance to lead here in wisconsin.
i believe that government has grown too big and too intrusive in our lives and must be reined in, but the government that is left must work. as taxpayers, we should demand that the functions that government must reasonably do, it should do well. we should demand a government that is more effective, more efficient and more accountable to the public. [applause] top-down regulations and mandates from the federal government get in the way of innovation and growth in wisconsin and states like ours. therefore i am working with our new attorney general to prepare a lawsuit challenging the newly proposed federal energy regulations. these proposals could have a
devastating impact on wisconsin because we are so heavily dependent on manufacturing. according to recent reports, we could lose tens of thousands of jobs in our region, and ratepayers could see an increase of up to 29%. we will fight to protect wisconsin's hard-working families. [applause] instead of fighting with states like wisconsin, the federal government should work with us to find reasonable alternatives. we can be both environmentally and economically sustainable. these are just a few of the big wisconsin forward. in a few weeks we will return to these historic chambers to share our state budget proposal. as we close tonight, let's remember what unites us and
makes us strong. here in wisconsin, support for the packers transcends political religious, and personal differences. heck, i was sitting a row ahead and a few seats over from a guy on sunday who didn't care much for my policies. i told him we were all packer fans there and by the end of the game, we were high-fiving another green bay victory. [applause] true story. green and gold runs deep. here in america, support for our military transcends those same differences. [applause]
that wasn't always the case, but thankfully, we've learned from our past transgressions. we support our men and women in uniform and we thank our veterans. red white and blue runs even deeper. [applause] there is one more place where we must also stand united. last week innocent people were targeted in france by terrorists. these cowards are not symbols of confidence. they are overwhelmed by fear. they are afraid of freedom. they are afraid of those who have the freedom of the press. they are afraid of freedom of speech.
attack against freedom-loving people anywhere is an attack against us all. and we will not allow it. when we take a stand -- [applause] when we take a stand, we will make it easier to work for freedom and prosperity right here in wisconsin. thank you. may god bless each and everyone of you. may god bless the great state of wisconsin. and may god bless freedom-loving people all over the world. [applause]
>> the state of the state coverage on c-span2 work the u.s. senate is gaveling in at 5 p.m. eastern him to begin the debate of the homage of michael botticelli. a vote follows at 530 p. eastern. now live to the senate floor here on c-span2. to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. our father, be with us not only in great moments of experience but also during life's mundane tasks. through the power of your spirit, may our senators mount up with wings like eagles,